Don’t Miss the Mark

by CJ McDaniel // September 1  

When it comes to a book’s overall visual appeal, the cover design isn’t the only thing people use to judge a book’s credibility. People view the entire layout of a book as a large determining factor of whether or not they will make the purchase. The book’s cover design could be impeccable, but if the interior layout isn’t up to par, a potential reader could be instantly turned off.

By following these common guidelines for book layout design, an author can avoid common pitfalls that can cause a good book to receive poor feedback and little sales. Here are some tips to help achieve a professional interior book layout.

Pay attention to margins.

It can be quite a nuisance if the interior text of a book is extended to the edges of the book’s pages, and your thumbs cover up parts of the text, or the book’s binding prevents you from reading the beginning of each paragraph. Make sure that margins are set properly to allow the appropriate spacing around the borders of the text.

Check with your books’ printer or publisher for specific specifications for margins. Formatting for CreateSpace – a popular on demand book publisher – requires that outside margins be at least 1⁄4 inches, and inside (or gutter) margins should range from .375 inches for smaller books, to 1 inch for larger books.

Make sure that text is clearly readable with the appropriate leading.

Leading, the space located between each line of text is crucial for maximum readability. The leading should be slightly more than the font size to make sure that the text isn’t too close together, making it difficult to read. Leading should generally be two to three points more than the font size.

For example, if a book’s font size is 12 points, the leading should be no more than 15 points. Be careful not to incorporate too much leading, which will make your book look disjointed not to mention increasing the cost of each book because of the extra pages.

Add well-designed chapter headings.

Chapter headings bring a professional touch to the overall layout of a book, and also help readers keep track of where they are during the progression of the story. Chapter headings can also give an interior book layout some creativity and break the monotony of the book’s text.

Chapter headings should be creative but no so distracting that it takes away the reader’s attention from the text and story. You should choose a chapter heading design with fonts that complement the fonts being used already in the interior book layout.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!